Sales leaders standing up a sales enablement function don’t always know what a “rockstar” looks like. Thankfully, we’ve worked with bright people at top-tier organizations, so we’ve seen “great” firsthand.
Sometimes, we’ll see a job description that makes us scratch our head. Sure, sales enablement leaders must build content, playbooks, messaging and the like. But frankly, these elements have quickly become table stakes.
So, what makes someone a great sales enablement leader?
Here are our top four characteristics of elite sales enablement professionals:
The Credibility to Earn a Seat at the Table
If sales leaders don’t see you as credible, you’re not getting a seat at the table. The good news is credibility comes in many different forms. If you’ve “carried the bag”, you’re off to a good start. If you come from another high-performing sales organization, even better.
But that’s not enough. You must prove that you can translate your individual experience into meaningful insights and actions. Listen, learn, analyze, and execute! Collaborate with key stakeholders and prove that you can deliver.
For those new to sales, get out into the field. Learn everything about the needs and practices of the “customer” – both reps and buyers. Overtime, your credibility and effectiveness will increase.
Thinking Beyond the Program
If you define sales enablement by rattling off the programs and vendors you’ve purchased…STOP! Great sales enablement professionals focus on communicating the bigger picture and driving business outcomes.
The best performers talk about their sales enablement system. They emphasize how it supports the sales team in each stage of the selling process. Share the training and resources you provide reps along their developmental progression. It’s not about whether you’ve bought into the sales methodology du jour. It’s about what you’re doing to make your team more successful.
The very best can cite where they diagnosed a problem, designed a solution, and successfully executed. For example, they might say, “Our churn increased in Q2. In response, we updated our sales messaging and process for the enterprise team. We also built a new KPI dashboard to focus on the key metrics. Our work had us back on track by the end of Q3.” Now that’s compelling.
Making Change Happen at Scale
Elite sales enablement professionals are catalysts for change. Too many new programs are “thrown over the fence” or dropped into a SharePoint site. The worst are rolled out to accommodate the lowest common denominator. None of those approaches deliver.
Rockstar sales enablement professionals are change management consultants in disguise. They know that lasting change requires frequent touchpoints, multiple stakeholder involvement, and top-down support.
Measuring and Communicating Impact with Metrics
Quantifying the impact of sales enablement is one of the most important discussions in the space.
There is no universally accepted approach, but the best sales enablement professionals focus on sales rep productivity. They have dashboards that monitor behavioral metrics as well as leading and lagging indicators. More importantly, they use the dashboards to communicate the impact of their efforts with senior leaders.
The Bottom Line
We see these characteristics in every high-performing sales enablement professional we encounter. Anyone who can adopt these practices is positioned to add tremendous value to their organization.
Standing up a sales enablement function or hiring a new sales enablement leader? We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to sales enablement. Contact us to learn more about our high-performance sales enablement benchmarks.
About The Author
Ralph is a partner with The Brevet Group, and for 20 years he has led sales performance teams in the United States and Asia. Recently he also served as a sales leader in both the media and technology industries. Ralph’s work has focused on a unique blend of management consulting and sales enablement to help companies execute their sales strategies. Prior to this role, Ralph was the APAC sales effectiveness leader at Mercer.